Thanksgiving Weekend will signal the end of general rifle hunting season and according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 2 Public Information Officer Vivica Crowser, this year is shaping up to be one of the best in the recent past.

“We’re headed into the final week here of our five week season and, so far, our harvest is ahead of where we were last year, and in some cases, we’re ahead of the five year average as well,” Crowser said. “If we look at the combined harvest of elk, mule deer and white tail deer that have come in so far, we are up 17 percent over last season.”
The biggest boon to hunters this year has been the availability of white tail deer. The white tail deer harvest is better than any year going back to 2008.

“It’s been a good season for white tail harvest and, especially considering the regulations have really been ratcheted back, compared to what they were prior to back in 2008,” Crowser said. “The elk harvest has also been good, and is up to 294, compared to 211 last season.”

Going into the weekend, the hunter check points have counted nearly 12,000 hunting trips and around 900 animals harvested.